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Major companies subscribing to participate in World IPv6 Day

By Donna Donowitz
January 24, 2011
With all of the IP addresses possible in the IPv4 protocol, businesses, service providers and government agencies are working steadily to upgrade their systems and prepare for the emergence of the IPv6 protocol. In a recent company blog post, Cisco announced its intentions to participate in World IPv6 Day, and Network World reports Verizon, Facebook, Google, Yahoo and Akamai all share the same intention.

According to the Cisco company blog, the company has been working on developing products and services that will be ready for the IPv6 transition for years. Furthermore, it has already helped many customers deploy IPv6 compatible systems. The blog said this has been challenging because preparing for IPv6 requires foundational changes to the network hardware and the software running on it.

The blog post also said the World IPv6 Day, sponsored by the Internet Society, will prove to be an invaluable test of the world's readiness to adopt the new, and soon-to-be necessary standard.

"On this day, major web companies, internet service sroviders, enterprises and equipment vendors will work together to 'switch on' IPv6 for 24 hours. The switch that will be thrown is one within the global domain name system, or DNS," Mark Townsley, distinguished engineer for Cisco Development wrote.

The testing procedure is critical, the company blog post said, because there are still a number of issues that need to be addressed before the world is ready for IPv6. For example, major operating systems have built-in IPv6 compatibility, but may not be configured to work well with the protocol. The same can be said for many routers, switches, servers and other hardware. As a result, the test could prove invaluable as a source of early insight on how the new standard will work, according to the blog post.

According to Network World's report, just 5 percent of all IPv4 addresses are currently available. As a result, new devices that are IP-ready may be unable to access the internet because they cannot acquire an IP address compatible with the IPv4 protocol. This could happen as early as some time in February, experts say, but the new IPv6 system, which uses 128-bit addresses, could solve the problem, according to the report.


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